By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson’s chief of staff cited a new study when labeling Sacramento as one of the worst economic regions in the world, but a business expert said the report doesn’t actually state that Sacramento is facing such a dire position.

The California Capitol region has made headlines as one of the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis and as one of the areas hardest hit by government cutbacks, but a new report by the Brookings Institute described Sacramento as one of the “least dynamic” metro economies in either North or South America.

Kunal Merchant, Mayor Johnson’s chief of staff, linked the study in Twitter posting Friday, writing, “Congrats status quo apologists! Sac now worst economic region in WESTERN HEMISPHERE”.

The online posting comes as part of Mayor Johnson’s Think BIG campaign, which aims to help drive support for a new entertainment and sports arena in Sacramento, and Merchant said he wanted to challenge the mentality of some opponents who “don’t realize we need to move forward and take risks.”

“One of the first lessons of leadership is you have to confront the brutal facts,” Merchant said in an interview with CBS13.

Sacramento State business dean Sanjay Varshney said the Brookings Institute study only reflects growth, not of the overall economic situation. Even though Sacramento, Dublin and Greece rank in the study’s bottom five, they have a higher standard of living than the top three regions — Shanghai, China; and Riyadh and Jiddah in Saudi Arabia.

“Just because you are growing fast doesn’t mean you are really becoming richer,” Varshney said. “If you look at some of the cities that rank very high… they are fast growing, but they also happen to be poor cities.”

Also near the bottom of the list: San Francisco, which actually stands as one of the largest metro economies in the world.

The Sacramento region is too dependent on government jobs, but it’s a stretch to call the local economy one of the worst in the world, Varshney said.

The California unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent in December, a drop of about two-tenths of a percent. The national unemployment average is 8.5 percent.

Comments (14)
  1. B says:

    Explains why I can’t find a job

  2. mike says:

    Hope they paid this idiot for something we already knew

    1. Phil Kampel says:

      mike, name calling doesn’t help anything. Do you actually have something to say?

    2. sac says:

      He makes over $100,000 a year, and he is paid with your tax dollars.

  3. really i bewaitin says:

    Seen this before, Johnson is working awfully hard for a second career with the Maloofs, Stick the city with the arena costs and Johnson will be on Maloof payroll in a New York minute.

    1. Matt says:

      Why would he want to work for the Maloofs? He made millions in the NBA…somewhere between 50 and 100 million with alll sources of income considered. He doesn’t need their money and they really aren’t that powerful so I don’t see why he would be spending all this time in an attempt to get a job.

  4. boycott Sacramento says:

    Who cares it’s all about the kings…………not that Sacramento is an illegal immigration supporting crime ridden city…………..

  5. Logic_Counts says:

    If MY economic situation is worse than anyone else I know, it is NOT the time for me to ‘move forward and take risks’.

    Quite the opposite.

  6. Heywood says:

    Privitize the benefits and Socialize the risks is what Kunal really means. If The Kings are such a good bet, why aren’t the 1% doing something about it? The obvious answer is they aren’t that good of a bet.
    Where are the “Free-Marketers ” now?
    KJ , Graswich, and the Maloofs will be ok, not so sure about the rest of us.

  7. Matt says:

    They should fire this guy for negative tweets like this. Wouldn’t the current council/mayor have to take some responsibility for this? Just asking…

  8. Leonthelump says:

    stupid comment that I don’t believe is true.

  9. endangeredpublic says:

    Pretty dern frustrating when the people we vote into office keep comming up with the most outrageous nonsence ….it has become an epidimic lately. No new real profitable jobs of value (living wage, future, benefits etc..)anywhere. To actually say Sacramento is the worst in the hemisphere is really a stretch of his imagination, they have created so many puplicate government agencys that it should be illegal because it is becoming impossible to keep track of these piggyback do nothing but move the same papers around agencys.

  10. The Blogger says:

    All you have to do is drive around town & look at all of the empty buildings that once had businesses going on.

    It seems like every time I go to buy groceries, go to a gas station of strip mall I am approached by someone that is seeking some spare change.

    Ever notice the people holding signs at intersections asking for money?

    It’s a shame.

    Quite frankly it is a combination of things. Everyone in Sacramento is just getting by. No extra money to spend.

    Then you have stores like Walmart that move in & undercut prices, so that the Mom & Pop places just can’t make it.

    Then you have the Hustlers that set up shop on a vacant lots to sell their goods, flowers, shirts, rugs etc.

    Of course, Law Enforement shuts them down because they don’t have a permit, or they are tresspassing on private property.

    The United States was built on buying & selling goods. Unfortunately we have all of these laws, taxes & regulations that keep honest people from making a buck.

    Even if you want to sell hot dogs in downtown Sacramento, you have to get all of these permits, participate in a lottery to get a spot & endure countless rules & regulations.

    It’s a shame…..

    Why strangle the Free Market?

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